While he was researching Dionysian ceremonies, he stumbled upon the Wildman: a pre- Christian mythic figure that appears all over Europe. The Wildman usually wears fantastic primitive, oversized costumes, consisting of hair, horns, trees, wood or cowbells. He is part of ceremonies that include singing, shouting, dancing and scaring people. The Wildman caught Ballemans’ attention because he represents the autonomous, rebellious, primitive force I’m looking for as a counterpart of rationality and consumerism.
With his art-work he is primarily striving for a strong, authentic visual language, but his interest in rituals also has consequences for the types of forms he uses. He is very interested in the – often decorative – form language of traditional rituals, for instance in floats, triumphal arches, flags, trophies, ornaments and costumes. His sculptures often refer back to these forms in a playful and abstract way.
He has worked a lot with flat elements that function as facades and result in sculptures, which are robust and powerful ‘fake volumes’. In his recent work however the working process became more important. These works also leave more space for imperfection and asymmetry. This makes the sculptures more playful and intuitive.
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